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College of Engineering and Computing

  • four closeup photos: hands using a ruler, a robot holding a green 3d printed part, buttons in a basket that say CEC, and a gloved hand holding metal pieces over text that reads 2020 Year in Review

2020: A Year Like No Other

Our Year in Review

We don't have to tell you that 2020 didn't go as planned. January's loud, bustling hallways became March's desolate corridors: the hum of the server room echoing through empty offices and lonely labs. As our students shifted spring break plans and headed back to the safety of home, our faculty and staff were learning to teach on Blackboard Collaborate, advise via video calls and preparing to press forward in a world that felt newly perturbed. 

It's times like these that our work as a college comes center stage, bright and illuminated. Our mission is to educate the next generation of innovators. To increase the stock of professional problem-solvers that are prepared to tackle the BIG problems--the ones that feel too big to face. To reassure the world that there are opportunities in the chaos, and that when we find them, we will be better on the other side. 

As an upended school year closed, we prepared for the new one as face-to-face instruction resumed. In this new normal, the CEC community rallied. We collaborated. We problem-solved. We did what so many engineers and computer scientists before us have done when times get hard: we stayed the course.

Among the expansive valleys of this year, there were tremendous peaks, too. We stayed the course, kept to our mission, and found refuge in celebrating the outstanding accomplishments of our students, faculty and alumni.  

Take a look back with us at 2020, a year like no other... 

Far and wide, our students’ excellence was recognized.

The creativity and determination of our students continued to flourish in 2020. It didn’t matter if they were first-generation students or Gamecock legacies, CEC students completed dream internships and won prestigious awards.

Our students pushed boundaries in research from the undergraduate to the doctoral level, and our senior class went out with a bang during South Carolina’s annual awards day.

Another NAE member? Our college’s faculty continued bringing home top awards.

In the field of engineering, there’s one recognition that trumps them all. And, this year, our very own Mike Sutton became just one of 2,309 people to receive it — joining John Monnier as our college’s second member of the National Academy of the Engineering. 

If you ever want to brag to your orange-and-purple-wearing friends, just ask them how many faculty members they have in the NAE. We promise you’ll like their answer (hint — it’s zero…).

Better yet, Dr. Sutton wasn’t the only faculty member in the college recognized this year. Ramy Harik was named one of the world’s 20 most influential professors in the field of smart manufacturing. Ioannis Rekleitis saw his cutting-edge research in underwater robotics receive an NSF CAREER Award. And Amit Sheth, the founding director of the Artificial Intelligence  Institute, received a lifetime award for his pioneering work in services computing. 

Not a bad year for CEC faculty, if we must say so ourselves.

We adapted to a new normal in the wake of COVID-19

When community spread of COVID-19 meant moving classroom instruction online, faculty members like Sourav Banerjee helped instructors across the university pivot. When PPE supplies were low, our graduate students used their own 3D printers to create face shields for local hospitals. When essential employees had to continue working, alumni like Andrew Jarvie found solutions to keep them safe. 

Now, as the world adapts, our research continues.

 …and were there for our students when it mattered most.

Taking Statics or Algorithmic Design in the best of timesToughTaking those classes in 2020? Even tougher. Our students are made of steadfast determination, but so are the faculty, alumni, and community partners that support them.

This year, more than 350 students participated in our brand-new Peer Mentorship program, and even more students paired up with alumni for professional mentoring through CEC Connect. We furthered diversity in STEM through the new Bridge to Doctorate program and introduced young women to engineering. Whether celebrating student org success, navigating virtual conferences, or just being a comforting voice in the chaos, we were there for each other when it mattered most.

Despite the hard timesour alumni persevered and excelled 

Leaving the halls of the College of Engineering and Computing is just the first step our students take in making a huge difference in the world around them. Whether it was leading a major aerospace corporation, like David King, or navigating a local business through the pandemic, like Stanton Scoma, our alumni and donors stepped up in 2020 to make an impact. Thanks to generous donors like Venkat Subramanian, the CEC brought in more than $500,000 for scholarships, fellowships and other student experiences this year. Though Homecoming 2020 went virtual, we still celebrated the accomplishments of alumni like Dr. Ralph White and Jamie Barton with our annual alumni awards.

While things might’ve looked different his year, the CEC is looking forward to engaging with our alumni both virtually and in person for years to come.

...and our research made the world a better place. 

Our faculty’s work made news everywhere, and that’s no exaggeration! From The San Francisco Chronicle to the Jamaican Observer, our college was on the front page of newspapers across the world. Our faculty’s work is making a difference: raising public awareness of the importance of mask wearing and mask ordinanceshelping first responders avoid railroad crossings on the way to emergenciescutting commute times in congested cities, and discovering new materials to make our devices and home technologies even better. 

Research in our college is more than just a grant or publication. It’s a chance to change the world.

Here's to 2021...

We are incredibly proud to be a hub of innovation here at the University of South Carolina, with students and faculty that show tenacity in the face of the world's greatest challenges. 2020 was a year like no other, but here's to a year of continued excellence in 2021.

Forever to thee.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.